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Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632 – 1723)

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, was a Dutchman who developed the early compound microscope and made many new discoveries using this new research tool.

In 1677 on examination of his own ejaculate and identified tiny “animalcules” he found wriggling inside. This was the first description of human spermatozoa. He submitted this observation to the Royal Society London, with the following caveat:

If your Lordship should consider that these observations may disgust or scandalise the learned, I earnestly beg your Lordship to regard them as private and to publish or destroy them as your Lordship sees fit.

Royal Society London 1677.

Links: Leeuwenhoek Discovers Bacteria | Berkley Biography
A History of Science: Arabian Medicine | Mediaeval Science in the West | The Great Anatomists | The coming of Harvey | Leeuwenhoek Discovers Bacteria | Medicine in the 16th and 17th Century | Philosopher-Scientists and new Institutions | 18th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 1 | 18th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 2 | 18th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 3 | 19th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 1 | 19th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 2 | 19th Century Anatomy and Physiology Part 3 | Theories Of Evolution Part 1 | Theories Of Evolution Part 2 | 18th Century Medicine | 19th Century Medicine Part 1 | 19th Century Medicine Part 2 | Brain and Mind | Brain Structure | Embryology History

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, February 21) Embryology Leeuwenhoek.jpg. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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